A Chicago alderman who earlier this week denied a permit for a “Chiraq” block party has changed his mind and now granted the permit for the party.
Ald. David Moore, who is serving his first term as South Side alderman in the 17th ward, said he went door to door asking residents in the ward if they supported the block party.
Moore, who said he initially denied the permit over the name “Chiraq,” said most residents support the party, but not the name.
"Chiraq" is the slang term some use to compare America's third-largest city to a war zone because of its violent crime. Those in support of the film say the title is a "reality of what's happening in the city."
“The one-on-one conversations I had with residents were very revealing and productive. The residents share my same concerns about how the name ‘Chiraq’ will paint the Englewood and Auburn Gresham communities once the film is released,” Moore said in a statement. “They also expressed concern about the future of economic development in these communities and what plans supporters of the movie had to bring jobs to the South Side, which is at the root of the our city’s gun violence.”
Moore told NBC Chicago on Thursday he “could not tie his name to [the party] based on the conversations he had with his residents.
Fr. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church, said he was "disgusted" by the move to deny the permit and said the church would move forward with plans for the Saturday Auburn Gresham neighborhood block party. He said the party would be on church property.
"It's sad that this is how he wants to make a name as coming in as new alderman," Pfleger said.
In a Facebook post, Pfleger said Moore denied the permit and "would only approve it if Spike Lee and his cast had nothing to do with it."
The film’s title has been a source of debate in the city since it was announced. Ald. Will Burns (4th) last month asked the Chicago City Council to vote on a measure that would push the state to deny Lee’s company a $3 million tax break for shooting the film in Illinois if he moved forward with the "Chiraq" name.
Burns believes that in this case the slated “Chiraq” title will make it difficult to bring economic development and jobs to the city in the future, and in turn take a negative toll.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has also spoken out about the title, saying that while he does not oppose the film itself, he opposes the title due to its characterization of the city as a war zone.